Nikos Gyros in Magnolia serves up authentic, affordable Greek meals, from kebobs to hummus. And you can't beat a freshly made gyro with ground beef and lamb.

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When you think of Greek food, it’s hard not to think of a family atmosphere. And that’s exactly what you get at Nikos Gyros.

About 12 years ago, the now 77-year-old George Serpanos decided that retirement wasn’t for him, so he set up a cozy Greek restaurant in his neighborhood of Magnolia. Serpanos can be seen there daily, along with his daughter and grandson, as the third generation of the business is being groomed to serve up authentic, affordable Greek meals.

The menu: What you would expect to find at a Greek restaurant, from gyros and kebobs to hummus and baklava.

Serpanos’ daughter, Alexandra, says the chicken souvlaki (marinated kebob-style cut meat) is what people go there for — and it is good.

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You can get it multiple ways: in a pita, salad or specialty plate — which includes the meat, a Greek salad, pita bread with tzatziki sauce and your choice of rice or Greek fries (seasoned potato rounds with feta cheese and lemon juice).

The best deal is to get one of the 17 specialty plates, ranging in price from $8.95 to $12.95. Options include: gyro meat, souvlaki, chicken or lamb kebobs, pork or lamb chops, moussaka (a casserole with layers of potato, eggplant, ground beef and béchamel sauce) and keftedes (Greek-style meatballs).

What to write home about: You can’t beat a freshly made gyro with ground beef and lamb, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on warm pita bread ($4.25). There’s also a chicken gyro available for the same price. The dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice and served with tzatziki sauce) is a nice, fresh appetizer.

The setting: From the moment you walk in the door, you feel like you’re in Athens. There are posters of Greek soccer teams on the walls and even two clocks, one set to Seattle time, one to Greece time.

There is a counter up front where you order like at a fast-food restaurant. Then you take a seat and the food is brought to you after it’s prepared in the open-air kitchen.

Summing up: Enjoy an authentic Greek meal that is not short on size but short on the pocketbook. For $45, we had dolmades, a gyro, chicken souvlaki, specialty plates of keftedes and lamb kebobs, two baklavas and drinks, enough to feed four people.

Jon Fisch: 206-464-8326 or